Cynon Valley AM welcomes step along journey to make Abernant Tunnel an active travel route

Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells has welcomed news that the Welsh Government has agreed to fund walking and cycling charity Sustrans to lead on a piece of work that could see the reopening of the Abernant Tunnel.

The announcement was made by Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport AM Lee Waters in response to a debate discussing Welsh Historical Industrial Infrastructure.

The debate noted the rich network of this across Wales, and that re-purposing disused railway lines and tunnel across Wales could lead to economic, regeneration and integrated transport opportunities.

The Deputy Minister said:-

“The Minister for Local Government and Housing, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism and I have jointly agreed to fund Sustrans to lead a partnership bid for assembling external funding for the reopening and running of the Rhondda and Abernant tunnels.

“Clearly, the funding would need to come from a wide range of sources and can only be achieved with a wide range of bodies working together, and this includes the community”.


Above: Vikki at entrance to Abernant Tunnel with Dawn Bowden AM.

Speaking in response, local AM Vikki Howells said:-

“I was pleased to co-table this debate alongside my colleague David Rees, Labour AM for Aberavon, which gave me a chance to once again champion the reopening of the Abernant Tunnel between Cwmbach and Merthyr.

“I have been through this Tunnel, and the structure is in impressive condition. There are over 20 former railway tunnels in South East Wales, and previous studies have noted that the Abernant Tunnel scores highest in terms of conversion to an active travel route for walking and cycling.

“During the debate, I paid tribute to the work of local company Hammond ECS, who maintain these structures across the UK, and pointed out how they could be reopened to encourage stronger links between communities and attract tourists to our area.

“This is a positive measure from Welsh Government, and I look forward to seeing progress as we convert these symbols of nineteenth-century industrialism into those of twenty-first century sustainable prosperity.”